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Dickess Tree Farm offers unique visit

Charles Delong, left, and Travis Dudding, right, help Keith Dickess, center, ready a Christmas tree to be taken away by a customer Friday at the Dickess Christmas Tree Farm in Windsor Township.

WINDSOR TOWNSHIP — For John Dickess of South Point, Black Friday was really more of a Green Friday, green and fresh because he and his family were standing not in a line at a store but out on a tree-studded field, trying to find the perfect tree to take home to decorate and another one to take to church to decorate there.

For the Dickess family, picking out the Christmas trees is more than just a perfunctory episode, it’s a family adventure. And that’s just what Keith Dickess, of Dickess Christmas Tree Farms, on County Road 61 in Windsor Township, has in mind as the customers roll through.

“It’s a family atmosphere here,” owner Keith Dickess (related to John Dickess) said. “We’ve got three generations of the same family here picking out a tree.”

Keith Dickess himself is carrying on the family tradition started by his father, Carl Keith, who began planting the trees in the late 60s and started selling then in 1976.

John Dickess said he and his family have been coming to pick out their Christmas tree at the tree farm ever since they moved back to Lawrence County from Florida in 2008. Friday he was surrounded by his wife, Jennifer, daughter Alyssa Green, granddaughters Bailey, 8 and Rowan, 21 months, along with Megan Cox and Tanner Bakhshi.

“We bring everybody out here and everybody gets their say-so,” John Dickess said.

Not far behind, John Bowen, of Huntington, W.Va., and his kids, Joey, 15, Christian, 12 and Tess, 8, were making their way toward the fields of trees. Bowen said he has been coming here 35 years.

“I want that Griswold experience,” he mused, referring to the scene in the movie “Christmas Vacation” in which the Griswold family chooses their Christmas tree. Nodding to his children, he added, “I want them to have the experience of coming to a tree farm and not just a parking lot.”

It is precisely that nostalgia that brought Deby Craft, of Chesapeake to Dickess’ Christmas Tree Farm Friday.

“I like that old-time feel,” she explained.

Dickess said this weekend and next weekend, Dec. 2-3, will be his busiest times. This year he thinks probably 500 families will eschew the artificial and the parking lot special and opt for that family experience.